Licorice Altoids

Maybe it’s the ultra-clever marketing. Or maybe it’s the crackle of that white protective paper you must peel back to get to the mints inside each nostalgia-inducing tin. Whatever it is, there is a reason why consumers choose Altoids, the “curiously strong mint�? over its competitors. Mint flavors like wintergreen and peppermint aside, Altoids are also available in cinnamon, ginger, and even licorice (or “liquorice,�? as the tin reads). That’s not to mention their newer Altoid raspberry, citrus, and passion fruit sours available in round tins rather than the traditional tins shaped like a deck of cards.

But to zero in on a particular mint, Licorice Altoids are a special candy for a special consumer. Indeed, not every candy connoisseur enjoys the flavor of black licorice. And from a company known for its mints, this is not quite a mint, though one could make a case for the fresh-breath potential. Closet black-licorice fans truly have limited options when it comes to the treat—it’s a rare flavor, and Altoids nearly has the market cornered on licorice mints. Twizzlers still makes black licorice ropes, but you won’t find it in all stores. The red licorice ropes are definitely more popular. In fact, black licorice is usually only enjoyed by mature taste buds, leaving young consumers with more kid-friendly flavors. It carries the flavor of anise, an herb used not only as a cough suppressant but also as a breath sweetener. So maybe there is reason to market licorice as a mint.

These Altoids are potent and packed with flavor, like other Altoid varieties. If you’re mildly fond of licorice, you’ll probably eat a few of these and get bored. If you’re a black licorice fanatic, you’ll ingest the entire can in a week. But don’t expect to offer this treat to unsuspecting friends under the label of a “mint.�? They may be surprised by the taste and spit it out in front of you. As one food reviewer for the Chicago Sun-Times stated, black licorice tastes like “stale tobacco dipped in cough syrup.�? Ouch, that’s harsh. But don’t let one person’s opinion stop you from at least giving Licorice Altoids a try.

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